One of the most amazing jobs I had and will forever be grateful for was at a bridal shop. I heard some of the greatest love stories within those walls, the funniest, weirdest and most surprising stories that had brought all the ladies to the mesmerizing moment of picking a gown.
In my time as a bridal consultant, I received hundreds of brides of; African, European, American and Asian origin. Basically, ladies from different cultures from different parts of the world. And the common thing these ladies all shared except of course that they were getting married, was the entourage they brought with them to this eventful occasion of choosing probably the most important dress any girl will ever wear.
98% of the brides came with their mum or aunt or grandma or sister(s) or best friend(s) or all. It was always elating to see a bride with that much love and support around her but it was also always a bummer for us at the shop because we knew that particular bride would be ‘hard work’. Well, to be exact the ‘hard work’ wouldn’t be her but her entourage; it would take a lot of convincing to get everyone to agree on one particular dress which then determined the bride’s decision.
Mum loved & wanted the Ballgown dress with a boat neck and beaded embellishments; Grandma wanted a vintage A-line, long sleeved, boat neck, lace dress; the sisters liked the fish tale dress that accentuated her curves with illusion backs and a long train; Best friend 1 wanted the short, cowl, strapless, sweetheart neck dress and finally best friend 3 wanted all the above….pheeewwks!! The question still remained, ‘what did the bride want?’ Poor thing couldn’t make up her mind either… she’d come expecting to try on a few different dresses till she had found ‘the one’…..
All the voices aaaw-ing and ahhh-ing at the different beautiful dresses, everyone with their own favorite was just too hard for the already overwhelmed bride. Some brides ended up picking what they didn’t necessarily like/want but were instead influenced by their entourage to go for what wasn’t necessarily their favorite.
I have personally found that the times when I needed to make a decision, the many voices around me of even those who actually care made it even harder for me to arrive at a conclusion as much as they meant well for me.
And so I wonder if like myself in your everyday life, in your everyday decision, if the voices of those around you have somehow misled you from what you actually want or led you astray from what God wants for you.
Don’t get me wrong, seeking counsel is wise, all through the book Proverbs we are encouraged to seek counsel & listen to it, but, if like me you have sought advice/counsel whether for a big or small decision, listening to many voices makes the work so much harder. It is good to have friends & people who can guide you but when they become too many it can be destructive.
My favorite brides were the ones that came with either mum & best friend only or any number of people below 3. She only had to narrow it down to 2 dresses and that’s where I would come in to guide her to make the difficult decision between her 2 remaining dresses which also meant they were both her favorites.
I’ve gotten at cross roads before in my life and have needed to make a decision somewhere, somehow and I’ve sought counsel/advice from maybe 3-4 of my closest friends including my mentors, but it just made it even harder for me to get clarity or even to hear God’s voice in the matter. Our priority person to seek counsel from should always be God but being honest here, I tend to remember him after speaking to my best friends or my mum & grandma.
I know I need to set my priorities right but also reduce the amount of voices I’m listening to (even if from those who truly care).
If not, I have gotten to points where I have felt overwhelmed & confused at what I should do like the brides; mum wanted me to do this, grandma that, best friend both…. Me? I didn’t know what I wanted a few times… Of the many things I’m currently learning in my life, seeking stillness to listen to God is one of them, which means reducing these voices I listen to or better yet just searching my own heart & asking God what HE wants me to do.
I know this also seems to be less practical at times which is why most of us prefer or even subconsciously run to our confidants to talk over things because they’ll immediately respond or help unlike God who will sometimes (maybe most of the time, for me) require us to wait or will respond but maybe not in an audible thunderous, wall shaking voice as we expect.
But, I pray that we (myself especially) may learn to SIT STILL and seek GOD’S COUNSEL first, like the great King David did. Because God ultimately has better intentions for us than we will ever have for ourselves. And may we learn to cut down the very many voices that influence us & may God also give us wisdom & discernment in choosing which ones to listen to.